Hundreds of tourists were trapped, and many houses and vehicles were washed away following a cloudburst that triggered a flash flood in the Neelum Valley in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to initial reports, five people are missing after a cloudburst in Neelum Valley. District Disaster Management Authority Neelam officials said that there are more than 100 tourists at Neelam Valley, Ratigali, and all the tourists are safe.

The flow of the Neelum river is affected at Durayan due to flash floods in Ratigali drain. Five houses, three mini hydel power stations, and vehicles have also been destroyed by the floodwater.

Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has said that the tourists are being shifted to a safe place, and all arrangements have been made to protect the local population and tourists.

The AJK prime minister has directed the concerned institutions to be alert.

What is cloudburst? 

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A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation in a short period of time, sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, which is capable of creating flood conditions. Cloudbursts can quickly dump large amounts of water, e.g. 25 mm of precipitation corresponds to 25,000 metric tons per square kilometre (1 inch corresponds to 72,300 short tons over one square mile).

The term “cloudburst” arose from the notion that clouds were akin to water balloons and could burst, resulting in rapid precipitation. Though this idea has since been disproven, the term remains in use.